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21 Ways to Learn to Act from What You Know to be True

One cannot speak the truth; – if one has not yet conquered oneself.
One cannot speak it – but not, because one is still not clever enough.
The truth can be spoken only by someone who is already at home in it;
not by someone who still lives in untruthfulness,
& does no more than reach out towards it from within untruthfulness.


Level 1

1. Acknowledge that at times:

(A) you act from what you know to be misleading
(B) you do not act from what you know to be true.

2. Seek evidence of "Current Reality"
Use the Systemic Reflective Principle to examine your life and relationships. Ask yourself: If the patterns and structures of my personal environment and my relationships reflected the patterns and structures of my thinking, what does that tell me? See our article Thinking Virtually Creates your Reality for more on this principle and an exercise of how to apply it.

3. Identify:

(A) your misleading representation
(B) what you know to be true.

You'll know when you have identified these because they will likely be accompanied by strong sensations. With (A) the sensations are likely to be unpleasant, often accompanied by embarrassment, and sometimes a sense of ludicrousness [be careful of disbelief at this point!]. With (B) there will likely be both a pleasant feeling of acknowledging what you know to be true and an unpleasant feeling of having denied this for so long.

4. Make public what you know to be true
Make an announcement. Tell someone you respect. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous start by saying "My name is X. I'm an alcoholic and my life has become unmanageable."

5. Consciously act based on the misleading representation.
This is a 'Paradoxical Intervention' designed to enhance your reaction to the misleading representation, bring the process more into awareness, and help you realise you have a choice.

Level 2

6. List ways you self-DDD.
This will involve ways that both:

- maximise what you know to be misleading
- minimise what you know to be true.

Everybody we have modelled so far has had multiple ways to self-DDD. Identify as many as you can. For people with substance addition, apparently the "big 5" denial patterns are:
1. Outright denial "No, not me!"
2. Avoidance "I'll talk about anything but the problem."
3. Minimising "It's not that bad."
4. Rationalising "I have a good reason."
5. Blaming "It's not my fault."
An article by Terence T. Gorski, 'Denial Management Counseling' in Addiction Exchange, Volume 3, No. 6:
April 16, 2001 about the "big 5" and the other "small 7" can be read at:

See also Prochaska et al’s seven “defences of precontemplators” (pp. 82 – 86):
1. Denial
2. Minimization
3. Rationalization
4. Intellectualization
5. Projection
6. Displacement
7. Internalization

7. Identify a metaphor for your self-DDD processes.
Your metaphor should describe how you both:
- accept the misleading representation
- reject what you know to be true.

8. Externalise that you deceive yourself by:
both believing your misleading representation; and not believing what you know to be true:
  • Write notes to yourself (Penny puts notes on her make-up mirror).
  • Draw your metaphor and display it in a context where you self-DDD.
  • Get others to remind you.
  • Tie a knot in a handkerchief (the ancient equivalent of using a Palm-Pilot).

9. List counterexamples
When and where have you not self-DDD? How did you (in any context):

(i) go from self-DDD to acting from what you know to be true?
(ii) continue to act from what you know to be true despite temptation to do otherwise?

10. Attend to how you keep becoming conscious of what you know to be true.
The self-DDD pattern is proof that what you know to be true still exists — if it didn't you
wouldn't need to self-DDD! Consider:
  • External - What triggers you to become aware of what you know to be true?
  • Internal - What signals let your know that you are self-DDDing?
  • How else can you become aware of what you know to be true — other than through pain?
(Carolyn Myss says "We learn by wisdom or we learn by woe." This is a way to learn by wisdom.)

11. Identify metaphors for having acted from what you know to be true for
(i) changing from self-DDD
(ii) maintaining truthfulness when you are tempted to do otherwise.

And what needs to happen for you act out of these metaphors more of the time?

12. Ask for feedback — What do others observe about how you do (and don't) self-DDD.
In organisations 360° feedback processes can provide a structured way to get this kind of
information. When you get feedback the key is to:

Acknowledge the validity of the information from the viewpoint of its originator
Find, what James calls, "the boulder of truth" in what is said.

[Note that any impulse to argue, justify, explain, "Yes, but ..." or blame is likely part of the way you self-DDD.]

Level 3

13. Set an intention or desired outcome to act from what you know to be true — given that you have the capacity to self-DDD.
When you set an intention you do not need to know how you are going to achieve it. The idea is to build a clear representation of the ways you want to act — based on what you know to be true — in contexts where that has been difficult in the past. Include what you see, hear and feel (both on the outside and on the inside). If this is beyond you at present, set an intention to create such a representation, and start from there. Regularly recommit to this intention. Anthony Robbins calls this "raising your standard" of acceptable behaviour.

14. Be specific about how you will know when you are achieving your desired outcome — and when you are not
Define undeniable evidence of acting from:
- what you know to be true
- the misleading representation (i.e. self-DDD having been in operation).

Make the evidence sensory-based, i.e. what behaviour you and others will be able to see and hear.

15. Devise a counter strategy to each way you self-DDD
(as identified in Number 6).

16. Start by taking small steps.
Be truthful with the little things first and those with undeniable evidence. Stephen Covey calls these "private victories".

Watch out for rushing into a dramatic display – can you sustain it? {The snag is that either rushing in, or not rushing in, could be self-DDD depending on your pattern – time will tell!)

Level 4

17. Put in place lots of reinforcement.
Avail yourself of support for acting from what you know to be true, e.g. friends, self-help books, mentors, therapy/counselling/coaching, etc. — any reminder that works for you.

18. Keep going Meta:
Get outside/above the pattern so you can hold in awareness more and more (apparently contradictory) components and how they fit together.  Consider larger frames, e.g. When Penny asked herself: "Is this the person I want to be for the rest of my life?" it had a profound effect.

19. Remember you are in it for the long-haul.
Even when you think you've mastered it, you will get chances to know the potential for self-DDD is alive, and living behind a group of neurons somewhere. However, some people do eventually "transcend and include" their self-DDD. Their detection and countering processes become sufficiently well-developed that self-DDD does not adversely affect their, or other people's lives.

20. Keep applying this process to whatever happens.
Recognise that whatever you do is evidence of how your system works — and use this to continually update your model of what is happening, i.e. learn how your system adapts to your desire to change, and adapt to that adaptation!

If all else fails ...

21. Surrender to a power greater than yourself.
e.g. "God as you understand God", or commit to a group or philosophy with a proven track record (e.g. AA), or put yourself in the hands of a reputable guru.

NOTE: We have subsequently added some notes on a related subject Accepting Acceptance.

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